UPDATE 9:45 a.m. (cause of fire updated at 12:48 p.m.)
Today just after 8 a.m. a boat fire was reported to . Crews were able to rescue two boaters from the scene of the fire where a 30-foot sailboat "The Spirit" was anchored off of Branford Point according to Fire Chief Jack Ahern.
Assistant Fire Chief and Fire Marshal Shaun Heffernan determined that the fire on the boat was ignited in the engine and was caused by a malfunction of the propane system that served the boat's stove.
"Accumulation of propane in the engine compartment ignited and caused the fire," reported Heffernan.
Heffernan said the boat occupants were getting ready to cook something on the stove when they noticed it would not turn on. Moments later they heard a small explosion in the engine compartment and that's when the fire ignited, he stated.
Deputy Fire Chief William Pepe said, "Quick action prevent a catastrophe," today. When Branford Fire boat Marine 2 arrived on scene, Pepe said they quickly deployed their deck gun to extinguish the boat blaze.
Branford Police Department Marine 1 was also on scene and transported two victims from the boat, a male and female. They were able to escape the burning sailboat by dinghy, said Pepe. They both were wet and cold as rain had been falling all morning, but were uninjured.
The boat, a late 70s' sailing vessel out of New York was traveling from Stonington back to New York according to authorities. The boat had spent last night at where it was towed back to by Sea Tow so Heffernan begin investigating the cause. The male passenger was also at the marina talking with authorities and warming up with a cup of hot coffee thanks to marina staff. He is not believed to be the owner of the boat.
Branford led by Captain Mike Mullen was waiting at the marina to finish extinguishing the boat. All fuel from the boat was transfered into drums and there was no contamination to the soil or waters of Long Island Sound.
The boat is a total loss for the owner.